"One of the pitfalls of being a vinyl junkie is that you can easily turn into a rock snob - an insufferable bore (almost always male) with a hollow superiority complex based on one’s record collection. At times, I certainly qualified. With hindsight and experience, I’ve come to understand that rock snobbery is an exercise in aural flagellation - a way to punish yourself and the world because girls ignored you back in high school. Like, why would I even want to hang out with those cute girls who like soccer players when I can stay home and listen to Frank Zappa make fun of them? You start out when you’re a kid buying the music you actually like and end up spending thousands of dollars over your lifetime on records that you think you should like - the more obscure or downright unlistenable the better. You idiots with your Fleetwood Mac records are too stupid to appreciate these contorted shards of tortured feedback skittering over jackboot techno-Burundi drums. If your favorite obscure band somehow gets popular, that’s okay, you’ll be able to remind everyone within earshot that you listened to them way back when they were way better, and replace them in your collection with that Cajun sitar funk band that made a single album in 1972 that’s unbelievably influential despite no one having ever heard it. Or perhaps you’ll latch onto something that’s so uncool - The 101 Strings Play Loggins And Messina - that it desperately needs you to make it cool. (Rock snobbery might not end when the girls finally look your way - you might actually believe that your rare Roky Erickson record had something to with it. I eventually married a woman who didn’t know Arthur Lee from Peter Green and 24 years later still couldn’t care less.) That gets lost in all this rock snobbery is a simple point: music is meant to be enjoyed."
AD: Speaking of Chilton, the song does remind me of some of the darker ballads from Big Star’s Third.
MS: It made me really think a lot about Big Star’s influence on me. I was listening to that album as a senior in high school. I went last spring and sang on a performance of Third in New York City that Chris Stamey of the Db’s organized. Guys from REM were involved – Mike Mills played bass – and Jody Stephens, Big Star’s drummer, was kind of an anchor. And it made me think a lot about their influence on me. It really made it hard for me to imagine not having heard those dark ballads. Just to know you could go there – that’s why Chilton was one of my main guys. He could do all sort of emotions – he could be funny and cynical or honest and straightforward, or he could go really dark and morbid. Guys like John Lennon – people I really admire – could do that sort of stuff.
During the time Big Star got its big revival, I kind of felt like I kept quiet about the amazing amount of influence they had on me because it seemed like everybody was having a big influence from them. Nobody needed another guy going on about it. Whereas, when I go back and look at them, it feels really important."